As previously reported, rapper Meek Mill and pop veteran Rod Stewart are both aiming for top 10 debuts on the Billboard 200 albums chart next week. Industry sources suggest that the former's "Dreams & Nightmares" is on course to sell between 170,000 and 185,000 by the end of the tracking week on Nov. 4. Rockin' Rod, meanwhile, will see his first Christmas album, "Merry Christmas, Baby," launch with around 80,000.
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The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Nov. 7.
Meek Mill will likely arrive in the No. 2 slot, behind Taylor Swift's "Red." The latter is tracking to spend a second week atop the tally, selling more than 300,000. It debuted at No. 1 this past week, selling 1.208 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Meek Mill's robust start might have been a bit larger (though not large enough to bump Swift from No. 1) had it not been for Hurricane Sandy. The storm knocked out power and shut down retailers across the Mid-Atlantic States after making landfall in the U.S. on Oct. 29 -- the day before "Dreams & Nightmares" hit stores.
Label sources say that since two of Meek Mill's strongest sales markets are in the mid-Atlantic (New York City and his home town of Philadelphia), his album's sales were affected by the storm. However, the extent of that impact isn't yet known. We'll know how much the album sold in those regions on Nov. 7, once SoundScan releases its latest weekly sales data.
For an example of Meek Mill's popularity in New York City and Philadelphia, we can look to the sales of his most recent top 10 single on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Amen." The cut has sold 336,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Of that figure, 60,000 (18%) were bought in New York and Philadelphia. The cities amount to the first and second-largest markets for the track, selling 12% and 6% of its downloads, respectively.
Switching gears to Stewart, the pop icon will see his first holiday effort, "Merry Christmas, Baby," easily arrive in the top 10 next week with around 80,000 sold. A chunk of that figure will be from by sales generated from HSN, which will contribute upwards of 28,000 CDs to the set's first week. Stewart appeared on HSN on Oct. 26 and the shopping network is offering the set with an eight-song bonus disc.
If "Merry Christmas, Baby" bows in the top 10, it will mark his 16th top 10 release. Though Stewart has been charting albums since 1969, a full seven of those top 10s have come since 2002, when Stewart began releasing his successful American Songbook covers albums. Those seven releases, issued between 2002 and 2010, all reached the top five on the Billboard 200 and have sold 10.6 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
On Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart (below), Swift's "Red" and Meek Mill's "Dreams" lead the tally at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking -- reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants.
As for the rest of the Building chart's top 10: Kendrick Lamar's " 'good kid, m.A.A.d city" is No. 3, Jason Aldean's "Night Train" is No. 4 and Stewart's "Merry Christmas, Baby" is No. 5. Toby Keith's new "Hope on the Rocks" is in the sixth position, while Mumford & Sons' "Babel" is No. 7, followed by Neil Young with Crazy Horse's new "Psychedelic Pill" at No. 8. Flyleaf's new release "New Horizons" is at No. 9, while Tony Bennett's "Viva Duets" is at No. 10.
|Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart|
|2||NEW||Meek Mill||"Dreams & Nightmares"|
|3||2||Kendrick Lamar||"Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City"|
|4||3||Jason Aldean||"Night Train"|
|5||NEW||Rod Stewart||"Merry Christmas, Baby"|
|6||NEW||Toby Keith||"Hope on the Rocks"|
|7||4||Mumford & Sons||"Babel"|
|8||NEW||Neil Young & Crazy Horse||"Psychedelic Pill"|
|10||5||Tony Bennett||"Viva Duets"|
|The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.|